During a meeting at Number One Riverside, Rochdale we came across a former student who had unfortunately been kicked out of his home and was going to the council to seek accommodation. We quickly realised after talking to him that we couldn’t help him or advise him in dealing with homelessness because we didn’t have knowledge or accurate understanding.
We decided it was important to educate our students on the topic of homelessness so we contacted the Sanctuary Trust in Rochdale and was introduced to John Wigley. John works at the First Steps Shelter and was keen to work with students in schools to teach them what it means to be homeless, why people become homeless and what to do if they become homeless. John kindly agreed to give our students a tour of the Shelter and explain how the whole set up worked.
We followed up our trip to the Shelter with a variety of activities aimed at further educating the students about homelessness, including role play, discussion and debates about the topic. The response from students was really positive and this showed in their discussions. They really took onboard what John spoke to them about and seemed to understand the reasons why some people become homeless.
We selected a small group of students who had engaged particularly well in the sessions to take part in a ‘Cookathon’ on 1st February 2016. The students travelled to Rochdale to present the food they had prepared to Mick Kinsell, First Steps Shelter Manager and Dave Lackner-Smith, CEO of the Sanctuary Trust. The food was greatly appreciated and students were thanked for their efforts.
Students said that this had been a really positive experience for them and had given them a greater understanding and empathy for the homeless.